Frog Blog

TELL Series – William Chase

By Joe Krancki

William Chase started Tyrrells, the potato crisp manufacturer, in 2002 and sold it for £30m in 2008. A Herefordshire farmer who spent twenty tough years “selling spuds” before finding a way to make them pay, Chase left school young and weathered an early bankruptcy before his success with Tyrrells. After its sale, Chase built Chase Distillery, which currently exports its premium, single estate potato vodka to over 35 countries. Driven by the challenge of “finding something special people want to buy”, Chase is intrigued by the difficult mix of brand, quality and price. Tyrrells achieved notoriety by refusing to distribute to Tesco, choosing instead to retain the high margins independent retailers could offer. Chase’s approach to his product was unorthodox, from Tyrrells’ provocative packet design to its headquarters on a Herefordshire farm. Yet he reduced his business learnings, for the TELL audience on 3 June, to two unchanging tenets: “you have to have demand, and you have to have a margin. With those two, you can make money.”


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